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Vets express concern over animal sentience pledge
Defra has pledged to ensure animal sentience is properly recognised in legislation before Brexit.
BVA says time is running out to enshrine new Animal Sentience Bill in law before Brexit

A pledge from the government to enshrine animal sentience in UK law ahead of Brexit has been cautiously welcomed by vets and animal welfare organisations.

On Tuesday (7 August), Defra announced that animal abusers who commit the most serious offenders will face up to five years in jail, compared to the current maximum sentence of six months. The announcement also contained a commitment to work with welfare organisations to ensure that animal sentience is properly recognised in legislation before Britain leaves the EU.

But the BVA, which has been working hard to enshrine animal sentience in UK law, has raised concern that there might not be enough time to introduce the Animal Sentience Bill before Brexit.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “It’s of course encouraging to see that the government is committed to enshrining animal sentience in law before we leave the EU, but with time running out the government must ensure that these words are translated into decisive action.
“Recognising animals as sentient beings sends a strong signal to the global community that the UK continues to be a world leader when it comes to animal welfare. It’s imperative that the government earmarks enough time in an increasingly crowded legislative agenda to bring it into law.”

Defra’s announcement comes in response to a consultation on the draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill, which began in December 2017.

The consultation set out proposals to ensure animal sentience is properly reflected in law when Britain leaves the EU. But following a recommendation from the EFRA committee, legislation on sentencing will be brought forward separately so courts have the powers available to them.

In a statement echoing Mr Fishwick’s concerns, RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said:

“We are pleased that Defra has agreed with the RSPCA that the Bills relating to sentencing for animal cruelty and animal sentience should be separate. We welcome the proposed Bill to increase sentencing for animal cruelty and neglect from six months to five years by amending Section 32 of the Animal Welfare Act, as well as the introduction of a separate sentience Bill.

“However, as there are less than eight months to go before we leave the EU, we are concerned that time is running out for the Sentience Bill to be introduced and agreed before Brexit.”

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Registrations open for overseas veterinary professionals course

News Story 1
 Registrations are now open for the RCVS CPD course for overseas veterinary professionals, which covers an introduction to the UK veterinary professions.

The course is aimed at overseas-qualified veterinary surgeons and nurses during their first two years of working in the UK, in addition to those considering working here. It provides graduates with the key information and skills required to practice in the UK, as well as helping them understand their legal duties as veterinary professionals.

For more information and to book your place please click here. The course will be held at Belgravia House, London, on Wednesday 12 June.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
BVA launches award to celebrate young vets

A new award has been launched to celebrate inspirational young vets who are making a difference in their day to day work.

Nominations are now open for the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award, which is the first of its kind. It is open to all vets registered with the RCVS in the first eight years of their careers, working in any veterinary sphere, including clinical practice, research, education or veterinary politics. Organisers are looking for an ‘exceptional young vet’ whose work has benefitted the veterinary community or the workplace.

The awards are open for self-entry and nominations by 1 August 2019. The winner will be announced at London Vet Show on 14 November 2019, where a £1000 cash prize will be awarded, alongside a ‘career enhancing experience’ with Zoetis.